Oma's Beef Rouladen Recipe

This German beef Rouladen recipe, served with traditional dishes like potato dumplings and red cabbage, is my most cherished German comfort food from my childhood. It is still a popular choice in our family for Sunday dinners, birthday dinners, and other special occasions.

This comforting dish is also fabulous with other sides like creamy mashed potatoes and green beans. What's better than to have a special occasion dish that's so versatile and is actually quite easy to make?

Prep Time

30 minutes

Cook Time

2 hours

Total Time

2.5 hours

Servings:

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices top round (see hints below)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • regular or Dijon mustard, to taste
  • 3 slices lean bacon, cut into pieces
  • 3 garlic dill pickles, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 - 2 cups water
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Season the thin slices of beef with salt and freshly ground pepper. Thinly spread mustard on top of each slice.
  2. Divide pieces of bacon, dill pickle slices, and onion slices on one end of each of the beef slices.
  3. Roll up slices, tucking the ends in and securing each roll with a skewer, wooden cocktail stick, or string.
  4. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown beef rolls well on all sides. Do not crowd rouladen in skillet, or they will not brown nicely. Do in small batches if necessary. Add extra butter if needed.
  5. Once all rouladen are well browned, add 1 to 2 cups of hot water, gently stirring up browned bits. Place beef rolls, along with any accumulated juices back in the skillet, bring to simmer, and cover.
  6. Simmer for about 1½ hours.
  7. Remove beef roulades. To thicken gravy, make a cornstarch slurry: combine cornstarch in a little cold water and stir gently into cooking liquid until slightly thickened.
  8. Season gravy to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you wish, add sour cream for a nice rich gravy.
  9. Remove strings, wooden picks, or skewers from rouladen.
  10. Ladle gravy over the tender beef rolls to serve.

Notes/Hints:

  • Have your local butcher cut beef top round steak (or flank steak) into thin slices, about ⅜-inch thick. Each roulade should measure at least 6 inches by 4 inches. Gently pound meat until it is about ⅛- to ¼-inch thick. Be careful not to put holes in the meat. The larger the roulade, the easier it is to roll up. 
  • Some add pickles, others don't. Some add vegetables, others minimize the fillings. Use Black Forest ham instead of bacon. Use spicy brown mustard for a little heat.
  • You can use beef broth or beef stock instead of water.
  • If you're wanting to use your crock pot, in step 5 put everything into the slow cooker and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.
  • You can also make rouladen in your pressure cooker.
  • Take a look at What to Serve with Rouladen.

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01.12.2022 revision update